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500mW 405nm HL405 from Skylaser [LaserBTB]

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This is a review of the 500mW HL405 (405nm) from Skylaser (also known as LaserBTB). I purchased this laser through the groupbuy put on by offroadfreak8582.

Shipping: 8/10


Transporting a package from China takes a quite a bit of time with a budget carrier, but sometimes it takes longer than it should; this was one of those instances. I was given a tracking number on September 21st, 2012, and it was delivered on October 12th (exactly three weeks). It wasn't too bad, but it was not the standard two weeks you can expect from China, and this is another reason why I personally don't like China Post. They're always slow, and I've even had packages completely lost while using this carrier. You get what you pay for, I guess. I had a buddy of mine purchased an LZCS from Lazerer after I had received my tracking number, and he got his laser before mine arrived.

Packaging: 9/10


As some of the other members from the groupbuy pointed out, Kevin (the frontman for LaserBTB) packs his lasers such that they would survive a small war. The box everything came in was taped all over. I had a difficult time trying to get it open (which is a good thing). Inside were two smaller boxes with one stacked on top of the other.





The only thing I would change about the packaging is adding bubble wrap. If the package were to have been dropped, there wouldn't have really been anything to absorb the shock. The brown box contained the battery charger and nothing more despite its size, plus this was the only part of the package that had bubble wrap.



I'd rather have that bubble wrap around my laser and not around my charger. The white box is more like a sleeve to protect the leatherette carrying case.



I slipped off the cover, and lifted the lid. This is when I confirmed to myself that I had made a smart purchase.

The Laser: 10/10


I'd like to start out this section by saying that I love the color Violet, so I'll try to be as unbiased as I can here. The first thing that stood out to me about this laser is the build quality, for it's extremely solid. The host seems to be made out of aluminum, and its walls are pretty thick. This makes it heavy, but not too much, so it feels very sturdy in your hand. Nothing in this laser is loose, nothing squeaks, and nothing rattles. I had purchased some IMR 16340's from yobresal, and they arrived on the same day as my laser (talk about perfect timing).



I popped in the batteries and noticed that the spring kept them in snug and tight. The laser felt balanced in my hand as I held it.



This laser didn't come with a remote connector switch as I thought it would, but it does have an interlock, an on/off switch (not a temporary pushbutton), and an aperture shutter. I figured I wouldn't really use the remote switch anyway, and it would make the laser longer, so I'm perfectly fine without it. I put in the key, turned the lock, and fired up the laser for the first time. I was astonished at how visible the beam was even with all the lights on!



Half a Watt of Purple is nothing to joke about! The divergence on this laser is great for this wavelength; it burns dark things from ten feet away while focused to Infinity, and it burns white objects even when I'm lazy with the focus. I turned out the lights and was blown away by how well I could see the beam!



It was as if Samuel L. Jackson let me borrow his lightsaber. I tried taking some beam shots, but my camera has a hard time picking up this frequency (RGB has its limitations), for it marks it as a dark, Blue-ish Purple. I wish I had an LPM to test out the power on this beauty, as I have a good feeling that it's overspec.

I have been following a 5min on/1min off duty cycle. It gets slightly warm, so I believe I could easily push 7min out of it (the sticker it came with suggested a 10min on/1min off duty cycle, but I don't want to take my chances with that at room temperature). I did, however, take it out on a cold night (~40 degrees Fahrenheit), and I left it on for over 10min without any problems. It took it several seconds to warm up, but after that, it kept stable for the entire run. The beam runs in TEM00 from startup and stays there. Skylaser claims the beam diameter at aperture is <2.5mm, but it's closer to 3.5mm when focused to Infinity. The laser draws 430mA at the tailcap.

The fluorescing capabilities of this laser are a wonder to behold! Every time I bring it out with the lights off, the entire room dances with colors. It's interesting to see which objects fluoresce the most, and it's also fun to see an object light-up when you didn't expect it to. I would have never guessed that my doorstop fluoresced until I looked around the room with my laser on; it turns electric green even though it's normally white!

The beam itself can be seen in a well-lit room. It's quite faint, but it's visible even when looking perpendicular to it. When the lights are off, the beam appears as a near-colorless stream of violet water. It's also quite difficult to determine where the beam lies in space if the source is out of view. Set the laser on a tripod, walk away, and stand still (looking perpendicular to the beam). Then, try to point to how far away the beam is, and it'll usually be about six inches further away from you than where you thought. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that our eyes don't often distinguish this wavelength (because it doesn't naturally occur in this intensity). It's almost as if it's a brand-new color!

Overall, this laser is perfect, and it even came with a free diffraction grating cap as a gift from the groupbuy.



I paid $115 for the laser and $14 for shipping; what a steal! Oh, and I made sure to get a custom warning label made by NickD070, too. My favorite are his matte stickers, as they add such a high level of class to my lasers. This laser also fits quite nicely in my carrying case I put together.



I am going to be purchasing more lasers from LaserBTB in the upcoming groupbuy being put on by offroadfreak8582 again.

The host is beautiful, the beam quality is fantastic, and its burning capabilities are phenomenal. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a great Class IV Violet Laser. Well done, Skylaser, well done.
 
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Yup looking good... Getting a nice collection there. Thanks for the review and let us know some runtimes maybe a you can let us know how much current its drawing. + rep.
 

Blord

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That is a nice laser. You will need a bigger laser case in the future.
Thanks for the review !
 

InfinitusEquitas

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Check that the tailcap doesn't actually have an lock out pin (or whatever it's called) on my older skylaser, there is one, it just looks like it's part of the tailcap when inserted.
 
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Thanks for the feedback and rep, guys! I added a section near the end (right before the picture of the diffraction grating cap) all about the duty cycle and beam properties. I don't have a multimeter at my apartment right now, but I'll borrow my buddy's and test it when I go to his house in a couple days.

Infinitus, That would be awesome if it did! I'll check it as soon as I get off work. Thanks.
 
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brucemir

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Hi Andrew, very accurate review as I purchased the same laser in the GB. The remote switch comes with the PL series , as I purchased a PL-650 nm 200mw after the GB and ot had the plug in cable. I also paid extra to have it shipped Fed Ex. It took 5 days to get to me in NJ.Good lick with the 405!!
 

offroadfreak8582

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Sweet review! Awesome! It looks like all the time i put into this groupbuy is paying off when i see you guys are happy :)

Greetings,,
 
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As a small update, I looked closer at my laser, and I can confirm that it does not have a remote key switch. I still haven't had a chance to measure the draw, but I will this weekend.

I also added a couple new paragraphs to the review: one with a description of the beam and one with a summary of the fluorescing the laser can do. It's right after the beam qualities and right before the picture of the diffraction grating again (near the end).
 
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millirad

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Just don't point it at tonic water. And avoid glow-in-the-dark paint. It's just too powerful of a reaction in the dark. Especially avoid gitd paint. Did I say avoid gitd paint? :D
 
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Thanks for the feedback, guys! I still haven't had the chance to test the draw... :whistle: I'll be writing a review on the next laser I get from offroad's next groupbuy. I'm thinking/hoping it will be a 1W 808nm HL808.
 
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